China to boost atomic safety standards: Report

China operates 13 nuclear reactors and is building more than 2 dozen others.

Beijing: China will improve emergency procedures and construction standards at its nuclear power plants, state media said on Monday, two months after a quake and tsunami in Japan triggered an atomic crisis.

"We have to raise our standards to deal with complicated situations, like what happened in Japan," Liu Hua, a nuclear safety official at the Environmental Protection ministry, was quoted by the China Daily saying.

"The lesson of Fukushima is that we need to improve emergency procedures, especially coordination among government departments."

Authorities are also considering installing power generators inside nuclear power plants and setting higher standards for flood control measures and for the construction of exterior walls of reactors, Liu said.

China ordered safety inspections of its nuclear plants and suspended approval of new projects after the March 11 disasters in northeast Japan sparked the world`s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

Japan`s Fukushima nuclear facility was rocked by a series of explosions, fires and radiation leaks after the 9.0-magnitude quake and monster wave cut power to the plant and caused reactor fuel rods to heat up dangerously.

Entire towns were destroyed by the disasters, which left almost 25,000 people dead or missing along the shattered Pacific coast.

Liu said his department aimed to complete the nationwide safety inspection by August and it would then issue a safety plan, the report added.

China operates 13 nuclear reactors and is building more than two dozen others -- estimated at 40 percent of all reactors being built worldwide.

More are on the drawing board as China struggles to meet soaring energy demand to feed its booming economy. Despite the Japanese calamity, Beijing has insisted that atomic energy will remain a key part of its energy mix.

Bureau Report

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